A Not-So-Serious Rendition of the Build-up To World War 1 With Regards To: The Balkans–Part 3 of 6
Most of the Balkans were now independent countries, but there was still a large part of the southern half of the peninsula that was under Ottoman rule: Thrace and Macedonia. This was unacceptable to Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria, who all bordered this land, as a large part of the population in it was either Greek or South Slav.
Mainly though, they wanted to expand their borders rather than truly help the people. Serbia couldn’t get Bosnia and Herzegovina so it began seriously looking southward, while Greece and Bulgaria had wanted European Turkey for a while now. Combined with the Albanians in the Empire rebelling, decades of guerrilla fighting in Macedonia, and the Italo-Turkish war only a year before, they decided now was the time to start.
With Russia’s help, Bulgaria and Serbia put aside their differences for an alliance. Part of this alliance was agreeing that Serbia only got land above a certain point in Macedonia, and Bulgaria would receive everything below it. This becomes important later. They later added in Greece and Montenegro to form the Balkan League.
Both Serbia and Bulgaria had strong armies (Bulgaria even saw itself the “Prussia of the Balkans”), but they knew they would need more help. The Greek army at the time was considered… not great, to say the least, but they had a relatively modern navy which the other two didn’t have. Montenegro was added mainly because Serbia asked them. They were a tiny country, with a small but alright army, and Greece and Bulgaria didn’t really protest because Montenegro didn’t really have much ambitions in expansion.
Now, I’m not one of those history buffs who could talk all day about specific battles and front lines and all that so I won’t, but the Balkan League did pretty much kick the Ottoman Empire’s ass. The Ottoman’s hadn’t completely mobilized their army, didn’t know of the Serbia-Bulgaria agreement on Macedonia and misread Greek intelligence putting their troops in all the wrong places. It was defeated after only seven months of war in May 1913.
As for the aftermath and the distribution of land, that will be covered in the next part, Balkan War 2: Electric Boogaloo!
What did the Romans ever do for us? by Tony Via Flickr: Grand stairway in the archiological Museum in Istanbul showing a Roman Bass Relief of Medusa.
The three Gorgon sisters—Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale—were all children of the ancient marine deities Phorcys.